Looper director explains his '10 degrees off' approach to dystopia

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Dec 17, 2012, 4:24 PM EST

Building an action-noir flick around a time-travel MacGuffin is a somewhat risky move in itself, so Looper director Rian Johnson decided to take a unique approach to his vision of the near future. Basically, it's still our world—just with a dash of Blade Runner mixed in.

Johnson did an extensive sit-down with the folks at The Verge, and along the way he talked about how he's creating his own version of the future for the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis-starring time travel pic. Considering the suspension of disbelief already needed for time travel, he didn't want to push viewers too far with an out-there vision of the world.

So he played it close to the vest and tried to make a world we'd recognize, but one that still looks a little ... off:

"There is something dystopian about it. It also is very grounded. It's not as designed as something like Blade Runner, even. Which is still very grounded and very gritty, but it has such a specific and overwhelming design aesthetic to it. And this, we were just trying to go, like, 10 degrees off from our reality. And so much of it was just about degrading what is already there and picking a couple of key things to tweak.

And it was also -- narratively -- I felt like the audience had a lot to absorb already, and so I didn't want them to have to wrap their heads around some big concept in terms of the world. And so keeping it kind of just recognizable as a slightly dystopian future... in a lot of ways, I feel like it's a world that we've seen before. And that was intentional. Just so the audience can kinda look and say, "Okay, I know where we're at. We're in near-future, and stuff is broken down. Okay, I get it."

Definitely an interesting approach, and it'll be interesting to see what dystopian touches we can spot along the way.

The full interview is definitely worth a read, and touches on everything from his past movies to his thoughts on the future of the film industry.

Looper opens Sept. 28.

(Via The Verge)